The value of horse meat exported from Britain has more than doubled in five years, showed Government figures released in response to a question from North Wiltshire MP James Gray.

Over £4 million-worth of horse meat was exported in 2012, up on just under £1.9m-worth in 2008.

The value of horse meat exports jumped to its highest level in 2010 - £4.9m - before decreasing to £3.9m in 2011.

And the volume of horse meat exported in tonnes more than doubled between 2008 and 2012, from 999 tonnes in 2008 to 2,233 tonnes in 2012.

The highest volume was the 2,827 tonnes exported in 2010.

In total, 9,405 horses were slaughtered in Britain in 2012 for human consumption.

The figures were given by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) minister David Heath in response to a Parliamentary question from Mr Gray.

Mr Gray said the figures did not give away much about the possibility of cross contamination of meat in British abattoirs but, that if cross contamination was happening, the best way to stop it would be to abolish the horse meat trade in the UK altogether.

"I suspect that what has happened in recent years is that the value of horses has declined so more are going to the meat trade," he said.

Asked if the slaughter of horses in UK abattoirs could be leading to domestic cross contamination of meat supplies, he said "it could be", but that "most horse meat contamination is happening elsewhere".

"The easy way of stopping it is by abolishing the trade in horse meat in the UK," he said.

On Wednesday, an independent review into the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) handling of the horse meat scandal was announced.

Headed by Professor Pat Troop, the review will have unrestricted access to all documents held by the agency that are relevant to the scope of the review as well as to FSA board members and officials.

The findings of the review will be presented to the board at its open meeting on June 4, with a formal report to be submitted to the FSA by the end of June for publication.

The project be part of a larger Government review of the issue.

The horse meat scandal first began in January when it emerged that frozen burgers supplied to several supermarkets, including Tesco, contained horse DNA.

Investigations revealed other beef products sold by retailers including lasagne and spaghetti bolognese were contaminated while meals in schools and hospitals had to be withdrawn after it was found they contained horse meat.

Last week Asda reported a test on its smart price corned beef had tested positive for very low levels of horse drug phenylbutazone, or bute, which is banned from the human food chain.

The corned beef had previously been found to contain horse DNA and is the only product to test positive for bute since the scandal began.

Officials said horse meat containing bute at very low levels presents a very low risk to human health.